Why bother?

So, I try to read book reviews when I can. There are a few blogs that I follow by email because I seem to like their taste or I love the way they review or I just love to read their ramblings. I also follow all of my Goodreads friends’ reviews because it’s a quick way to read through for new books to read or to see how people are receiving a book I’m thinking of reading. For the most part, I don’t read book reviews that aren’t three stars or higher… UNLESS it’s a review of a book I loved or thought I would love. I said all of that to say this: why can’t people just take a book and accept it for what it is?

I’m not saying that anyone should praise a book they didn’t enjoy or anything. It’s one thing to read a book you think you’ll love and then it’s super disappointing. It’s another thing to pick up a book that you’re probably never going to like and then complain about how you don’t get why everyone else likes it. I know opinions are opinions, but seriously? I don’t really like horror, so I’m not going to read any. I’ll probably hate it. In fact, I probably won’t even finish it. Why would I bother to pick it up?

I read a review today that gave two stars to a book I love, a YA romance. The person reviewing went on and on about how they couldn’t understand why most of Goodreads had given it at least four stars. They complained that nothing substantial happened, like someone dying or something. Then, they mentioned that they don’t enjoy pure romances. Hello? Did you read the synopsis? It’s clearly a fun, light-hearted romance. If that doesn’t appeal to you, why pick it up? I’ll tell you why: ratings. Which is why I only trust ratings some of the time. Andrea Cremer’s werewolf books have gotten great reviews. So many of my friends on Goodreads have LOVED IT! I just couldn’t get into it, so I gave up. Plain and simple.

I’m not trying to tell people they shouldn’t write their opinions. I just find the notion of reading a book I clearly won’t like is absurd. There are too many books I would love to read something mediocre.

That was a tad rambling. Thoughts?

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  1. I agree completely – it’s the same feeling I have when my mom buys DVDs of movies she hasn’t even seen yet, just because she’s heard a lot about it. *facepalm*

    If you haven’t seen it, so you don’t know if you’ll like it, why did you buy it?

    If a book is advertised as being part of a genre you already know you don’t like, why did you read it for a review?

    Makes no sense.

  2. I don’t like reviews that go overly negative. And it always saddens me when someone doesn’t like a book that I love. But I don’t mind reading reviews that very objectively list the good and bad points – even if I liked the book. For example, when someone trashes Twilight, I generally disagree but I can see where they’re coming from.

    • I usually have a hard time seeing where people come from when trashing Twilight. I’m not a die-hard fan or anything, but most of the time when people write something negative about those books they never give real reasons.

  3. I have read reviews in the past and had similar feelings as you have expressed. I wrote a review about a book I didn’t care for, but tried not to get too down. It just didn’t have what I was looking for. I was thanked for this in a comment left. I like to hear why people don’t like a book, giving their honest reasons, but not going on and on about how horrible the book, writing, why this person is even an author. I agree, I enjoy reading positive/negative reviews more than negative/negative reviews. Give me your honest opinion without demeaning a person’s writing, etc.

  4. Couldn’t agree more… although I got called out (for good reason) last year. I have a tendency to get annoyed with the decisions being made in certain YA novels *cough* The Lightning Thief *cough*. Anyway, someone helpfully reminded me after my review that the main character is 12. Not to belittle that age group, but their supposed to be able to make some questionable decisions. I’ve now come to see the light and have enjoyed YA a lot more since… Kind of off topic, but if you have no intention of trying to understand a genre, don’t bother reading it.

    Nice rant!

    • I’m with you on The Lightning Thief. For some reason, I have trouble with books written about kids that age. I’m very cautious about reading them. I pretty much only do it when my nephew thrusts a book in my face and tells me I HAVE TO READ IT BECAUSE IT’S SO AWESOME. I ended up not reviewing The Lightning Thief because I never felt like I had anything worthwhile to say about it.

  5. Although I see the sense in your point, I can’t say that I always follow this advice. Sometimes, I want to read something completely unexpected, and that’s when I reach for the genres I’m not that comfortable with. This system is usually successful in introducing me to some of my favorite books of all time.

  6. I’m guilty of seeing only the 4.0+ ratings a book has on goodreads and automatically assuming that must mean it’s amazing. That’s how I came to read Divergent, a book I wound up hating. I knew absolutely nothing about it (other than it was a dystopian – a genre I DON’T enjoy which should have immediately sent up an alarm) but it seemed like everyone else had read it and loved it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I suppose it was more out of curiosity than actually picking up a book I knew I wouldn’t like just to whine and complain about it.

    On the other hand, I first discovered some of my favorite books by picking up a novel I knew nothing about other than it had received an award or some other sort of praise.

    I’ve only recently started coming out of my little shell when it comes to genres and have been extremely open to trying new things. Chick lit looked fun! …and the first book I read I hated. Cozy mysteries looked silly and interesting! & now I’m completely hooked.

    These days I’m far more cautious before jumping into books. I’ve learned that just because a novel has a great rating, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll enjoy it. Usually it’s the negative reviews that are the most helpful for me (or, rather, the reviews where the points are laid out and explained intelligently). Last night I finished reading an ARC I was certain I was going to love! Unfortunately, I wish I would have read some of the reviews before even requesting the book. It turned out it was more of a paranormal story than anything and paranormal is a genre I’m not really into. The summary of the book didn’t even hint at a paranormal element.

    Yikes. This comment is all over the place and probably half of it doesn’t even make sense.

  7. Lucybird

     /  February 25, 2012

    I agree if you know you won’t like a book why read it? If you think you might sure give it a chance, and I have no problem with negative reviews as a whole. Sometimes you do start off interested in something but it ends up not working for you.

    Having said that I always write negative reviews of Twilight. I really cannot stand Bella, she makes me want to throw the book across the room, but despite the fact that I can’t stand the books I still want to read the next one, I just don’t get it! I do always try to say at the beginning of those review though that it will be negative but I needed to finish the series.


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